The Chatham Daily News has again demonstrated their complete lack of ethics by publishing news articles and opinion letters that are patently false and misleading, while refusing submissions that attempt to refute them. Clearly, there are double standards when some people have instant access to the press (sometimes under fraudulent identities) while simultaneously being shielded from any replies. For several years, editorial decisions have not been based on the content nor quality of the material. Rather, it is the identity of the contributor and their political stripes that determines whether or not a point of view is published. What kind of intimidation might elicit such a response?
With the Chatham Daily News reduced to publishing five days per week, this biased private soapbox for the mayor and his friends better pull their heads out and check for writing on the wall. They are one step away from being made a satellite of the Sarnia Observer, and it's just a matter of time before parent-company Quebecor recognizes that part of the blame for reduced revenue lies in the vindictive management style that allows personal political meddling to interfere with business. A branch with questionable ethics that routinely violate the Press Council code of conduct while refusing paid advertising from clients based on political pressure from others will probably be first on the chopping block.
I have actually noticed a correlation between the amount of display advertising purchased by some people and the amount of unobjective colour secured in their editorial treatment. My companies can't compete because the Chatham Daily News won't even accept my advertising dollars. I'm not allowed to run advertising that they had no problem with accepting prior to the 2006 municipal election - and I have that policy in writing. It's just a wild theory, but I think that one of their current advertisers does not want me to have any say in my community. Is the editor afraid of something?
Many articles on this site are based on a long list of items that the Chatham Daily News refused to publish without even the courtesy of acknowledgement. The best message to send these editors is a cancelled subscription in protest of this constant political interference and dishonourable manipulation of the news. Under Osprey Media, their best staff was already let go a couple of years ago, and most production is now done in Sarnia. The new owner, Sun Media, has a known strategy to amalgamate smaller papers, and they are unlikely to retain both Chatham This Week and the Chatham semi-Daily News in the same market. If one of them can't act with any integrity then they might as well be sacrificed - they already fell on their swords when they endorsed Randy Hope's candidacy for mayor and participated in the deception that got him elected.
Postscript, March 28 - According to CBC.ca, Quebecor has begun closing papers in Alberta this week:
All three are owned by Montreal-based Quebecor, which in December announced it was cutting costs and 600 jobs in the Sun Media chain due to fewer advertising dollars and fewer readers.
"The business model for newspapers is undergoing change, shall we say, you could say it's flawed, but it's probably more accurate to say it has just run its course," said Terry Field, chair of the journalism program at Mount Royal College.
The Chatham Daily News proves that the only way to get real news is through independent internet sites such as the Maple City Star that are in the hands of people instead of big disconnected corporations influenced by advertisers. And that is the new medium that is poised to kill the newspaper. The last puppy to be trained on the Chatham Daily News may already be born.